Waulpane Limestone Caves (වවුල්පනේ හුණුගල් ගුහාව)

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Waulpone, the ‘legendary Rock Cave’ with the unexpected archaeological evidence of a civilization, tens of thousand years old, running back to the time of the “Balangoda Man” is again, in the grips of a new menace, the illegal gemming activities.

The ancient rock caves with vast stretches of wilderness, set in a panoramic view, are fast losing their tourist-potential and historical value, with the pleasing prospects of the environment, under the axe of the wood-cutter, the tools of gemmers and the dynamites of the treasure-hunters, according to reports. The stream that flows through the front entrance to the cave with the cool, silvery water providing a pleasant surprise to the way-weary visitors, has lost its charm through the indiscriminate mass gemming operations affecting the immediate environment and the bed of the stream, dug and overturned.

The ‘pencil columns’ of ‘stalactite’ and ‘stalagmite’ formed by the age-old limestones, over the years, an inch of which according to scientific calculations, would take a hundred years to grow, are indeed a rare gift of nature peculiar to the cave to be saved from wanton destruction.

The glistening boulders of marble rocks lying scattered around the back of the caves gave it an added value which enhanced both the local and foreign tourist interest in Waulpone. ‘Balangoda Man’, unearthed, at the ‘Batadomba Lena, at Kuruwita, in 1986 by Dr Shiran Deraniyagala, estimated 30,000 years old, could, indeed, be traced to Waulpone, as well, a possible abode of the ‘early settler’ who derived his historical apalation from ‘Balangoda’ (or vice-versa), if excavations were undertaken according to archaeological sources.

The findings of the Batadomba Lena conclusively proved that ‘Micro-thic’ stone implements had existed at Batadomba Lena, where Balangoda Man had lived, thousands of years ago, debunking the archaeological view that such implements existed only in European countries. But such evidence might also be found in Waulpone as well if excavations were undertaken at the sources held.

The Netherlands, in 1986 financed a roadway to facilitate communication in the neglected village realizing the value of the ancient cave, through representations of the lovers of nature, from that country visiting the place. However, the local authorities have failed to follow up the international support due to the negligence of the forest conservation authorities in charge of the area, leaving the access road, in bad disrepair.

But now it has become imperative that the authorities call an ‘immediate halt’ to the mining menace and put the historical cave in good repair, to reclaim, the hitherto lost grounds in developing the place, as a tourist attraction, for saving from complete ruin, a rich heritage for the country, a fine and rare handiwork of nature, for the connoisseur of ‘natural beauty’ and a perennial source of income and foreign exchange for the State.

The services of archaeologists, geologists, ecologists and environmentalists backed by a research program of development under provincial authorities with the assistance of the Central Government, alone can save Waulpone for posterity. Considering the apparent and real significance of the cave and its surroundings, ‘it is remarkable’, that the authorities had not even put up a decent identification board for the information of the public.

The only available board, now almost disfigured, set up at the place, is the one from the ‘Parisara Mithuro’ children’s Society of Waulpone, old and unimpressive.

by P. D. A. S. Gunasekera
SUNDAY OBSERVER

It is possible to walk through this cave and reach an exit on the other side. True to its name, these caves are home to about 6 varieties of bats which is estimated to be over 500,000 in numbers. The walk through the cave would be through a layer of 3-4 inch deep slippery bat droppings and ticks.

In the center of the cave is a 60 feet tall waterfall which is the tallest internal waterfall in the country.

Also See

Map of Waulpone Rock Caves

Please click on the button below to load the Dynamic Google Map (ගූගල් සිතියම් පහලින්)
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The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites

Zoom out the map to see more surrounding locations using the mouse scroll wheel or map controls.

Driving Directions to Waulpone Rock Caves

Reach Pallebedda on the Palmadulla – Embilipitiya road and from the Thuntota junction at Pallebadda, take the Pallebadda – Bulutota road. Travel approximately 10 km on this road to reach the access road to Waulpone hamlet.

This road is on the left and is called the “Waulpone Sanwardana Mawatha”. This is a narrow and undeveloped road where only vehicles with higher ground clearance could travel. Ideally, a 4×4 should be used to travel on this road. Waulpone Hamlet lies 3 km down this road.

From the hamlet, you need to hike about 1 km on footpaths to reach the Cave Complex.


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